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Monday, November 26, 2012

Long-term study to track TATR tiger movement

Mumbai News www.mid-day.comFind out the freshest and latest news of Mumbai Vivek Deshpande : Nagpur, Mon Nov 26 2012, 03:41 hrs Wildlife Institute of India is partnering the state forest department in the study with National Tiger Conservation Authority putting in Rs 1.6 crore for the project A comprehensive long-term study of tiger dispersal and its ecological aspects in the Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR) landscape is being undertaken by the Maharashtra government using radio telemetry (radio collar). The Wildlife Institute of India (WII) is partnering the state Forest department in the study with the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) putting in Rs 1.6-crore for the project. A memorandum of understanding between the three is likely in the first week of December, according to WII scientist Bilal Habib, who will head the project. “The initial phase of ten years will provide baseline data from about 3,000 sq km of the TATR landscape that includes various contiguous protected areas such as Nagzira, Navegaon, Chaprala and Umred-Karandla about not just tigers but all co-predators and prey species and the dynamics of their relationships and co-existence. It will generate a huge pool of information on tiger dispersal, occupancy, threshold of disturbance that causes conflict, corridors etc. It will also give a perspective on how and why dispersal happens, where dispersing tigers go,” Habib told The Indian Express. This is the first long-term study in central India. Wildlife biologist Ulhas Karanth has done it in south India although without radio telemetry (radio-collaring of tigers). In the north, studies for 3-4 year duration have been undertaken using telemetry, but this would be the first long-term study using radio telemetry anywhere, according to Bilal. Asked why TATR was selected, Habib said, “TATR landscape is unique for dispersing tigers coming in conflict with humans and for its 5-6 breeding tigresses adding to the tiger population and triggering dispersal every year. It is also interesting from the point of translocation of human population in rehabilitation programmes. With some villages already relocated and some others in the offing, TATR offers us a unique chance to study how vacated space augurs for wildlife.” About the utility of the study, Habib said, “It will be useful in managing wildlife corridors and man-animal conflict in a better way. It will offer better understanding of tiger-leopard co-existence, prey-predator relationship, preybase requirement, tiger ecology, etc.” “Another uniqueness of the project will be that it will study all the components of the entire wildlife, its habitat and ecology,” he added. Last year, a rescued tigress was released into the wild with a radio collar. Wildlife biologist Vidya Athreya monitored it for many months before the collar became defunct. It gave valuable inputs on tiger movement and behaviour for the first time on the TATR landscape. The TATR Tiger Foundation has already sanctioned over Rs 46 lakh for the first five years of the project in excess of the Rs 1.6 crore NTCA is going to fund.

Forest dept gets eco-friendly anti-poaching camp

BS Reporter / Chennai/ Mysore Nov 26, 2012, 00:51 IST The forest department is going green and wants to keep its carbon footprint low . Braving wild elephants, the Centre for Renewable Energy and Sustainable Technologies of the Mysore -based National Institute of Engineering ( NIE-CREST ) has built an eco-friendly anti-poaching camp , incorporating renewable energy and sustainable technologies that can be a model for other forest departments. The camp, ‘Aranyaka’, is built at a project cost of Rs 8.8 lakh in Avarepura, in the Moleyur forest range, Bandipur Wildlife Sanctuary . The work was initiated in April last and was completed in six months. “This is the first-ever eco-friendly, sustainable and renewable energy-based anti-poaching camp. This can bring in the concept of green building, good comfortable stay for forest watchers. By adopting the model, the forest departments can become leaders in low-carbon footprint among others, a vital need of the day,” NIE-CREST director Shamsunder told Business Standard. The camp is built with locally-procured material and stabilised mud blocks prepared at the Moelyuru Range Forest Office site using local soil, sand and 9 per cent cement. About 5,000 such blocks are used for its construction. Unlike traditional clay bricks, these blocks do not require fire for burning. Instead, they are sun cured for 21 days. They provide thermal comfort inside the unit. In addition, the stabilised mud block masonry does not need plastering, he said. Considering deficit of water, the professor said rainwater harvesting had been incorporated in the building to meet the demand for water for a major part of the year. About 40,000 litres can he harvested in a year, helping with water conservation. An 8,000-litre underground storage facility and a 1,000-litre overground level tank were added features of the scheme. Utilisation of solar energy does not essentially fulfill the task of energy conservation. If solar energy is used with LEDs, efficiency will be markedly better. Eight solar LED bulbs, along with walkie-talkie and mobile chargers ensure uninterrupted power supply making the unit self-reliable in power. Efficiency of conventional cook stoves is less than 10 per cent and releases an enormous amount of smoke. Its poor thermal insulation leads to waste of heat. To overcome this, two fuel-efficient biomass cook stoves with a higher efficiency of 45 per cent and a bath stove have been provided to conserve wood and create smoke-free environment, Shamsunder added. “Working in the wild forest provided us with a different experience and challenges during the project implementation. Wild jumbos once attacked our construction site and destroyed eight cement bags. We had to increase the elephant trench depth and width,” he narrated his experience. The entire project was designed by NIE-CREST and Voice for Wildlife Trust, Mysore as a joint venture with Wildlife Conservation Trust, Mumbai and Tiger Conservation Foundation, Bandipur. Inaugurating the newly built ‘Aranyaka’, NIE Secretary N Ramanuja offered more eco-friendly technologies developed by CREST to the Forest Department. Project Tiger Field Tiger B J Hosamat complimented CREST for developing a model camp with unique features that suited a wildlife sanctuary. Shamsunder requested the Department to adopt these technologies in more anti-poaching units.

Probe tigress death, urges RTI activist

TNN | Nov 26, 2012, 03.05 AM IST BHOPAL: Wildlife and RTI activist Ajay Dube has urged the centre to send a special investigation team (SIT) to Madhya Pradesh to investigate the death of a tigress in the forests of Katni, neighbouring Bandhavgarh tiger reserve. In a letter addressed to the minister for environment and forest, Dube has claimed that the norms have been violated while disposing off the remains of the tigress. He said that a post mortem was not performed and the forest department has claimed that "it to be a natural death". "Without performing an autopsy how can they claim that it was a natural death, Dube wondered. On Nov 18, the official in-charge of the forest circle where the incident took place had stated that an FIR would be filed against the electricity department as the tigress was "allegedly electrocuted" and the electricity department was responsible for the management of power lines responsible for the incident. However, the forest department in its primary offence report (POR) no 307/ 21, did not mention any one and the report has been registered against "anonymous". In the POR, the department has mentioned the cause of the death as "natural", he added.

Govt plans lucrative package to forest dwellers

Bangalore: Nov 26, 2012 DH News Service Having failed to convince forest dwellers to move out of Karnataka’s Tiger Reserves, the State Forest department has decided to make the compensation package more lucrative. Forest Minister C P Yogeeshwara said that the department had decided to increase the amount of the compensation under Project Tiger from Rs 10 lakh per family to Rs 20 lakh per family. The decision was taken at a review meeting Yogeeshwara held with his officials on Saturday. Speaking to reporters here, Yogeeshwara said repeated attempts from the department to convince forest dwellers from the six Tiger Reserves in the State had failed, and that an increase in the compensation amount might encourage the affected people to voluntarily accept the relocation package. The minister said that the department had successfully shifted all families from within the Bandipur Tiger Reserve. There were around 154 families in the reserve and all of them have been shifted. But the department is finding it difficult to convince people in Anshi-Dandeli Tiger Reserve and Kudremukh Tiger Reserve to relocate, he said. Yogeeshwara said Nagarahole had 1,054 families, of which 496 families had volunteered to shift, while around 400 families among the 736 families in Bhadra had already moved out. Anshi-Dandeli had around 4,114 families, of which around 350 families had agreed to relocate, he said. He said the Kudremukh National Park, which was yet to be declared as a Tiger Reserve, has been notified and that there were around 1,382 families and all of them required to be shifted. Yogeeshwara also said the department had decided to employ villagers living on the fringes of forest areas to help monitor the forests during summer, ensuring that there aren’t any incidents of fire. Earlier this year, around 2,000 hectares of forest in Nagarhole and Bandipur had been destroyed in fire. Inquiries revealed that the forests were set afire intentionally by trouble makers. Also, it was ascertained that villagers who were not employed by the department to patrol the forests were not hired.

Ensuring food for overnight tourists irks activists

MONDAY, 26 NOVEMBER 2012 01:07 PARITOSH KIMOTHI | DEHRADUN Wildlife activists are opposing the order of Corbett tiger reserve director, wherein he has directed forest rangers to ensure food for tourists staying overnight in forest rest houses. The rangers have been ordered to manage facility through staff welfare society, but no such society exists in the State, allege activists. This is preventing staff from focusing on wildlife protection which is their main responsibility. In a letter written to National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) member secretary, People for Animals, Uttarakhand member secretary Gauri Maulekhi states that in an order dated November 6, Corbett director Ranjan Mishra has instructed rangers to ensure arrangement of selling meals and refreshments to tourists through a staff welfare society. “The order has been implemented in Bijrani and Sarpduli ranges since national park reopened for tourists on November 15. However, no such staff welfare society exists in Uttarakhand which can run these canteens and cook meals for visitors. The rangers have been managing the canteens themselves and through forest guards, watchers and daily wagers hired to guard the forest,” she said. Maulekhi adds that one vehicle is provided to each ranger in Corbett for official rounds and ensuring safety and observance of rules in the national park but these vehicles are being used by rangers to buy perishables like vegetables, milk and rations for the eateries that they are being asked to run. The vehicles are occupied practically daily for fetching supplies while the rangers are negotiating with vendors instead of attending to their official duties. The Supreme Court has simply asked that NTCA guidelines be followed, which state that canteens be run by the Tiger Foundation itself or in consultation with and cooperation by the State Government and local people. Uttarakhand CM who also heads the Corbett Foundation had categorically stated on August 27 this year that the canteens will not be run by the Tiger Foundation at Corbett and the existing arrangement of giving out tenders must be maintained and this has also been registered in the minutes of the meeting of the State Wildlife Board.